COLA Rates Announced for Federal Retirees

Cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) information for federal benefits in 2019 was announced today.

Civil Service Retirement System annuitants will receive a 2.8 percent monthly increase starting with January 2019 payments, while those under the Federal Employee Retirement System will see their monthly pensions adjusted by 2 percent. 

By law, COLAs are based on the CPI-W, or Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While federal retirees will welcomes this increase, future COLA adjustments are at risk.

NTEU is strongly opposing an administration plan to eliminate COLAs for FERS retirees and severely cut them for CSRS annuitants.

NTEU also continues to fight recurring proposals aimed at replacing the formula used to determine the COLA with a “chained CPI.” Over a 10-year period, a chained CPI could reduce federal annuities by thousands of dollars, making it harder for seniors to keep up with rising prices of living essentials like housing and food.

The retiree COLA is unrelated to the pay raise for current federal employees. Congress is not expected to finalize its plans for a federal employee pay raise until the end of the year.